Greece: 1.9 billion-euro subsidy for September power hikes

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s government plans to provide 1.9 billion euros ($1.89 billion dollars) in subsidies next month to help households and businesses cope with increasing electricity prices, the environment and energy minister announced on Tuesday.

Greece is one of several European countries using subsidies to help businesses and residents meet soaring energy costs triggered by Russia’s war in Ukraine. The amount the Greek government plans for September offsets is up from 1.1 billion euros in August.

“We are going to have a winter full of challenges and difficulties regarding supply adequacy and energy prices,” Kostas Skrekas said in a televised statement announcing the September subsidy.

Citing spiraling power prices triggered by the Ukraine war, Skrekas said the subsidy would apply to roughly 6 million households, regardless of income level or whether the energy supplied is for a main residence or secondary home.

The subsidy will absorb 94% of power bill hikes for households, 89% of the price increase for small and medium-sized businesses, and 90% of the increase for farmers, he said.

“We are going through a period of international crisis which has sent energy prices soaring across Europe to unprecedented levels, threatening the social cohesion of European countries and of our country,” Skrekas said, adding that the government was committed to providing a safety net for consumers to cope with “these extraordinary circumstances.”

Greece only recently emerged from a prolonged and brutal financial crisis that saw it nearly crash out of Europe’s joint currency, the euro, roiled international markets and sent poverty in the country spiraling.

On Saturday, the country’s economy formally stopped being under “enhanced surveillance” by its European creditors, one of the vestiges of its financial crisis. The milestone means Greece no longer is subjected to quarterly scrutiny of its public finances, giving the government greater freedom over its budget.

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